About - Raleigh Nativity Community Christmas Celebration
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How We Started

We started our Nativity display at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1998 as a way to usher in the Christmas Season and share our belief and love for the Savior. Back then it was very small. We now have over 300 nativities on display every year and welcome some amazingly talented choirs and groups who provide music throughout each evening of the event.


History of the Crèche

Crèche is the French word for a nativity scene. St. Francis of Assisi is credited with staging the first nativity scene back in the year 1223. In an effort to teach the local people of Greccio, Italy the story of the Savior’s birth, he set up a manger scene in a niche of some rock on the mountainside outside the local chapel. In it he placed some hay, an ox and an ass and there preached about the birth of Jesus. Setting up a manger scene then became very popular.


Nativity scenes and sets as we know them today found their roots in the 1300’s when Italian churches began displaying pieces made of terra-cotta year round. In the mid-1500’s, these nativity sets began to appear in wealthier people’s homes.


Nativities Today

Now there are nativity scenes made around the world in multiple media, some of which you will be able to see on display at the Community Christmas Celebration. There are nativities made from tin, ebony, coconut shells, straw and marble. We’ve even had a chocolate nativity. Nativities on display come from Australia, Brazil, Africa, Germany, Tanzania and Hawaii to name just a few places. Many of these nativities are brought back as mementos by missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.



[kresh, kreysh; French kresh]

1. a small or large modeled representation or tableau of Mary, Joseph, and others around the crib of Jesus in the stable at Bethlehem, as is displayed in homes or erected for exhibition in a community at Christmas season.